July 7, 2016, 7:11 pm
After being drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers 25th in the NBA Draft, Brice Johnson has gotten off to a promising start in the Summer league, with averages of 19.3 points, 2.3 boards in his first three games. He has showcased a polished skill set and has been one of the Summer’s most productive players, but does he have what it takes to contribute long term?
Johnson was considered a steal on draft day by many, one of the best players in college basketball years in his fourth season at North Carolina, and the Clippers are hoping to rely on him for consistent minutes as a rotational player.
His play thus far should make them confident, because he’s shown a few very reassuring traits early on.
Johnson’s ability to rebound and his ability to fill lanes in transition are probably his biggest strengths as a prospect, and those qualities have been present throughout his introduction to professional play. He’s been getting up and down the floor, fighting for lose balls and 50/50 rebounds and finishing in transition.
If it all translates to the NBA level, his athleticism and energy might keep the Clippers bench from experiencing the drop off it has in the past behind Blake Griffin.
Johnson’s mid range game has looked fantastic thus far, and looks like it will serve him well as a face-up/pick-and-pop power forward. He has the quickness and basketball IQ to find his spots, and so far he’s been knocking down the shots with great efficiency. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him extend his range beyond the three point line given his confidence in catch and shoot situations. His overall trajectory from a raw 18-year old shooting 56 percent from the line to 78 percent four years later is impressive.
It will be interesting to see how Doc Rivers manages minutes at the power forward and center behind Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. The Clippers like to play fast, so it’s not crazy to assume that Brice Johnson will be called upon for 20-25 minutes per game right out of the gate at both PF and C. He’s got a lot to prove, but he’s also got a lot going for him. His style of play should fit perfectly into the Clippers’ transition-heavy game plan.
At the college level, Johnson showed a versatile offensive arsenal that allowed him to score virtually at will from 10 feet and in. With a powerful frame, great ups and a soft touch he should be able to hit the ground running, but sometimes prospects just aren’t able to adjust to the speed and physicality of the pro game. Look for him to continue display his combination of offense, rebounding and athleticism in Summer League en route to earning a spot in the Clippers rotation. The question is whether or not he will be able to score consistently on NBA defenders. The answer to that question will determine whether or not he is a productive role player for this team, or if the Clippers will be forced to look elsewhere for a backup big man.
July 1, 2020, 8:28 pmDwight HowardC, Los Angeles Lakers
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Dwight Howard remains in his Atlanta-area home and the Lakers hope he will eventually join them in Orlando.
The Lakers do not plan to replace Howard on the roster. They are being patient with Howard, but if he decides to not play in Orlando the Lakers will likely look to sign another center.
Source: Dave McMenamin on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 7:40 pmLuc Mbah a MouteSF, Houston Rockets
Shams Charania reported that the Houston Rockets plan to sign Luc Mbah a Moute for the Orlando restart.
Thabo Sefolosha announced on Wednesday that he will not participate in the Orlando restart, leaving the Rockets with a need for an additional three-and-D wing. Mbah a Moute played 61 games for the Rockets in 2017-18 and averaged 25.6 minutes per game, so he is familiar with their system. Mbah a Moute will be a low-usage player that the Rockets can plug in at the end of their rotation and will provide them more depth, which could be imperative for teams given the COVID-19 concerns surrounding this Orlando restart.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 7:31 pmDwight PowellPF, Dallas Mavericks
Dwight Powell has advanced in his rehab from a torn Achilles as he has been able to do some light shooting, agility work, and has been able to do some jogging on the treadmill.
Powell suffered a torn Achilles in January and has no chance of participating in Orlando's restart. However, it is always good news to hear a player reach a milestone in terms of their rehab. Powell may not play an NBA game until the 2021-22 season as he continues to recover from one of the toughest injuries in basketball. This is a situation that will continue to evolve over the next year or so.
Source: Callie Caplan on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 7:21 pmJaren Jackson Jr.PF, Memphis Grizzlies
Head coach Taylor Jenkins told the media that they are "looking good, feeling good" in regards to the health of Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee), Brandon Clarke (right quad) and Justise Winslow (back soreness).
Jackson and Clarke missed nine and eight games respectively prior to the shutdown while Winslow has yet to play a game for the Grizzlies due to an ongoing back injury. This appears to be great news for the young team as they will be at full strength when the league does resume. Clarke and Jackson definitely have fantasy appeal as they both finished inside the top-80 on the season. Winslow has potential but he is the riskiest of the three based on a brand new situation and the back injury that has caused him to miss 53 games so far this season. It is probably best to avoid Winslow for the league resumption and re-evaluate his fantasy value prior to the 2020-21 campaign.
Source: Michael Wallace on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 7:03 pmThomas BryantC, Washington Wizards
Wizards center Thomas Bryant told the media that he is "100 percent healed" from a stress fracture in his foot and is doing everything on the basketball court ahead of the NBA resumption in Orlando.
Bryant struggled to stay healthy prior to the league suspension as he played in 38 out of 64 games while the team also had him on a strict minutes limit for several of the contests that he was able to play. He is an intriguing fantasy option for the NBA restart but his recent injury history should be considered at draft time.
Source: Fred Katz on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 6:03 pmCaleb SwaniganPF, Portland Trail Blazers
Blazers forward, Caleb Swanigan, has opted out of the resumption of the NBA season in Orlando.
Swanigan averaged 13.3 mpg for the Blazers across 20 contests and is off the radar from a fantasy perspective. He will join Trevor Ariza who will also be sitting out the NBA restart. There was very little likelihood that Swanigan would have been part of the rotation in Orlando with Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins returning from injury.
Source: NBC Sports Northwest
July 1, 2020, 5:56 pmThabo SefoloshaSF, Houston Rockets
Thabo Sefolosha will not participate in Orlando when the league resumes.
Sefolosha was a deep rotation piece for the Rockets as he only eclipsed the 20 minute mark once this season. There isn't much of a fantasy impact here as Sefolosha played in just two of the team's final nine games.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 3:52 pmJusuf NurkicC, Portland Trail Blazers
In regards to the health of Jusuf Nurkić and Zach Collins, head coach Terry Stotts said that "they both look great" and will be available for the restart of the NBA season in Orlando.
Nurkić was close to returning when the league was suspended while Collins was further away from playing basketball in March. However, the additional three months allowed Collins to recover as he has no limitations heading into the restart in Orlando. It is likely that they will find themselves in the starting unit while Nurkić is the more proven player in terms of fantasy production.
Source: Sean Highkin on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 3:29 pmMarvin Bagley IIIPF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings training staff believes that Marvin Bagley (left foot sprain) will be available for game action shortly.
Bagley hasn't appeared in a game since January. While Bagley would likely have a bench role, his return may cut into the playing time of teammates like Harrison Barnes and Harry Giles.
Source: Jason Jones on Twitter
July 1, 2020, 3:16 pmNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
Nuggets coach Mike Malone said that Nikola Jokic "feels great" after suffering from the coronavirus and is expected to join the team in Orlando.
It was reported in late June that Jokic tested positive for COVID-19. However, he was said to be feeling fine and could potentially play in games when they resume. The center has averaged 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 2019-20. Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would see more playing time if Jokic is held out of action.
Source: Mark Medina on Twitter